By TCN News,
Chicago, IL: Education and employment are the major challenges currently facing Indian Muslims, said Barrister Asaduddin Owaisi, Member of the Indian parliament from the city of Hyderabad. He was speaking at a public meeting on the theme “Challenges Facing Indian Muslims” in Chicago organized by the Overseas Friends of Majlis Ittehad ul Muslimeen at the North Shore Banquet Hall on Devon Avenue in Chicago, IL on Saturday, June 25, 2010. About 1000 people attended the meeting.
Veteran journalist Chandra Srivastava with Asaduddin Owaisi ( Photo Courtesy: Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia)
Owaisi was visiting USA as a member of the “India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program” at the prestigious Yale University.
Barrister Owaisi said that the basic cause behind the low educational status of Indian Muslim is social and economic deprivation. He said there are some hopeful developments in South India but the overall majority of Muslims living in North India are of low socio-economic status.
Quoting Census of India statistics, Owaisi said that the literacy of Muslims is only 59% compared to 65% in the general population. This despite the fact that Muslims constitute more than 13% of India's population. He said that the latest statistics reveal that for every 100 there are only 3 Muslim graduates.
He further stated that the socio-economic status of Indian Muslims is worse than the tribals and dalits.
He urged the Indian Muslims to take stock of the situation and take adequate measures to empower themselves. He said doing so will only strengthen their Islamic commitment. He said Islam puts the maximum stress on education and Muslims should make all efforts to acquire it.
He said that the other challenge facing the Indian Muslims is security. He condemned terrorism unequivocally and said that any persons perpetuating it should be severely punished. But at the same time innocents should not be prosecuted. He said that the intelligence agencies of India are in the grip of communalist and biased individuals who blame the Muslim community for any and all terrorist incidents. "There is a dire need for a systematic overhaul of the intelligence bureaucracy,"he said.
Asaduddin Owaisi speaking in Chicago ( Photo Courtesy: Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia)
Speaking on political empowerment he said that on this score as well Muslims lag behind in India. Out of the 114 parliamentary seats in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra only one Muslim has been elected. From all of South India only six Muslim MPs have been elected. He said that political deprivation of minorities doesn't bode well for any country and that immediate steps should be taken to correct this problem.
Owaisi stated that no matter what the extent of deprivation and injustice, solutions should be sought only within the democratic framework.
Program chair Mr. Wasifullah Quadri in his comments said that the All India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) is a secular organization which works for the overall development of all communities. He said many people from the backward and depressed Hindu communities are members of AIMIM. This is evident from the fact that the AIMIM frequently fields Hindu candidates, he said.
He said that he hopes AIMIM would grow even further in the future elections and bring in effective representation for the minorities.
Khwaja Nazimuddin Saleem moderated the event. Veteran Andhra Pradesh journalist Chandra Srivastava (Hussain Ali Khan) and political analyst Ayub Khan also spoke at the event.